FCC Plans to Auction C-Band Airwaves Despite Intelsat Bankruptcy

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(Bloomberg) -- The Federal Communications Commission said it would move forward with an auction of valuable airwaves following the bankruptcy filing of Intelsat SA, which occupies many of the frequencies to be sold.

Intelsat, weighed down by almost $15 billion of debt, filed for bankruptcy protection as part of efforts to raise cash needed to prepare its spectrum for a U.S. government auction.

The FCC “will continue to move forward with the C-band auction process,” a spokesman said in an emailed message Thursday. The agency “appreciates” Intelsat’s statement that a catalyst for its filing is a desire to get ready for the auction, the spokesman said.

The agency has set a Dec. 8 start date for the airwaves sale. Preparations must begin months ahead of that time, as current occupants of the airwaves make room for new wireless users. Intelsat said it needs to spend more than $1 billion to prepare, long before costs are reimbursed.

With its Chapter 11 filing in Virginia, the Luxembourg-based company said it lined up $1 billion in financing to fund operations during bankruptcy proceedings and make investments required ahead of the auction.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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